THE BIG BOOK DEFENSIVE GUIDE

INTRODUCTION:

Welcome to The Big Book Defensive Guide. We noticed going through the website that the most effective strategies on the defensive side of the ball were sprinkled throughout various guides and within the field pass section. The purpose of this guide to consolidate them into one location for our all-access members. This guide can be ran from either the Browns or Jets playbook depending on whether you prefer to have Dollar or Nickel Blitz 2.

Below you will find each defense with its own section laid out within tabs. When possible we will also go over an advanced strategy that may require more adjustments, a complete understanding of the formation, or quicker fingers to get setup before the snap.

So lets jump into it, for most of you this will just be a refresher guide, but a little refresher course never hurt anyone. Thanks for checking out the guide!

 

3-4 OVER

MaddenTurf Defense of Choice

3-4 Over has been out for a long time now, and still to this day is the preferred defense of most of the MaddenTurf contributors. If you just know the basic right side blitz setup that you can find all over YouTube these days, then you are probably getting owned by better players. The key to running 3-4 over effectively is to run different versions of the defense and call your plays correctly.

Watch the intro below, and then move into the defensive basics. Once you have a good grasp on how each of the basic setups work, move onto the adjustments section to get an idea how to react against the run threat or certain formations. Finally, when you are ready, head to the advanced tabs and learn to run the defense in its entirety from one of the plays listed to give your opponent a harder time decoding what you are doing exactly.

In this group of tabs we will go over the basic fundamentals of the defense. It is VERY important that you understand all three of these setups at minimum before taking the defense into a game. Once you have these setups committed to memory you have the basics you will need to understand the adjustments and the advanced sections appropriately. In this group we will cover;

  • Left Side Base D
  • Right Side Base Blitz
  • Right Side Aggressive Blitz

Simply click the corresponding tab to learn a particular setup. We will have the written setup in there, but it is VERY important to watch the videos as well.

This setup is not really a blitz per say, it can be, but think of it more like a base defense that will give you a nice base against the run and something you can adjust out of against the pass. This defense is the most important of the three because without this, the others will be easy to recognize and pick apart for your opponents. Setup:

  • Flip Play at Call Screen
  • Base Align
  • Spread LB’s
  • Shift DL Left and Crash Up
  • QB Contain (Optional-See Video)
  • Move Left of Screen OLB as Needed (See Video)

Video:    

This setup is what we refer to as a “Base Blitz” because the setup is very coverage based however many times the pressure will come as well just sending a three man rush. One thing to pay attention to is that this setup is fairly weak against the run to either side, not just the left. This is best called when you are fairly sure that they are passing but don’t want to commit to a heavier rush.

Setup:

  • Base Align
  • Shift DL Right and Crash Up
  • Adjust Left of Screen DE (See Video)

Video:

With this setup we add an extra rusher that really does wonders to get the pressure home. This setup can be risky in medium/short yardage situations because you are creating an extra hole on the second level, but in situations like 3rd and 10 can be the difference between a blocked blitz and getting a sack. Use this far less than the other setups but it definitely has a place in your scheme.

Setup:

  • Base Align
  • Shift DL Right and Crash Up
  • Blitz the Right of Screen MLB
  • Slide the Right of Screen MLB Over a Step or Two (See Video)
  • Adjust the Left of Screen DE as Needed (See Video)

Video:

In this section we will go over some of the basic adjustments that you will need to understand to run the defense at a high level. Some of these things may seem very small in nature, but they make a world of difference. In this group we will cover;

  • Basic Tweaks
  • Defending the Run
  • Adjustments to Popular Formations

Simpy click the tab for the concept that you want to study. Due to the nature of this section there will be no written setups as these are things you have to learn on a case by case basis, so please watch the videos.

This video goes over some of the small things that you can do to enhance your base defense against certain formations. You will learn principles and rules for the formation that can take a bland easy to beat defense and turn it into a nightmare for your opponent.
Defending the run from 3-4 Over is sometimes the most difficult thing to do from the formation, but when setup correctly it is actually rather easy. In this video you will learn the things to look for when trying to defend the run and how to respond to your opponent’s formation.
In this section we will go over some basic adjustments that you can use to defend some of the more popular formations in the game. Considering that every game is different you may have to deviate from these, however they are a great starting point, especially against sub-par players just trying to run what they see others run.
This section is for the advanced player that prefers to stay in one defense and adjust out of it. These concepts require a much deeper “Madden IQ” and generally faster fingers to get the adjustments in. Once you have a complete grasp on the defense however, these are the things that will separate the average from the good players. In this group we will cover;

  • Engage Eight Blitz
  • Sting Pinch Zone
  • Cover 2 OLB Fire

Simply click on the tab for the play you would like to learn.

This play is more of a mind game than anything. We will be running the 3-4 Over Right Side Blitz from the play Engage Eight. Because the safety will be wider than the linebacker, it will be harder for your opponent to block, and more so will be a total guessing game for them as to what adjustments you have on the field when the previous play information shows an eight man blitz.
Sting Pinch Zone is a play that we get all of the base concepts of 3-4 Over setup from. It takes some work however. The benefits of this play are that if you get quick snapped, while your coverage may not be wonderful, there will still be enough people rushing to make them uncomfortable, and you have the freedom to do a ton with it. Being that it is an invert style defense as well, we will have much stronger coverage over the short middle of the field.
This play gives us one of the best coverages in the game with squat flats on the outside, and vertical hooks in the middle, while giving us loads of freedom. You will have the ability to setup any concept from the 3-4 Over and the ability to get really adjusty with what you put behind it. The only setup that we wouldn’t recommend running from this play is the aggressive 4 man rush, because it is a cover 2 defense and that would leave the seam on that side naked.
***IMPORTANT INFORMATION***

The patch on 2/14/17 claimed to address multiple issues in the game, while that remains up for debate, it definitely changed the 3-4 Over right side blitzing concept quite a bit. We don’t want to say that it is patched 100% or gone, but the consistency level of it quite a bit. We went in and got you covered however with some alternate 3 man pressure from 3-4 Over on the right side. If the original version is not working for you, change up to this version.

Click the tab for the update and it will expand into the written setup and the video going over the play.

Here is the new version of the three man pressure from the right side of the formation in 3-4 Over. It is worth noting that while a blocked RB was not always effective against the old version, it seems to be against this version post patch. Sliding on its own does not stop this version however, so we are still forcing them to block six to stop three, giving the numbers advantage to our defense. Setup:

  • Base Align
  • Shift DL Right and Crash Up
  • Spread LB’s
  • Bluff Blitz the Right of Screen MLB
  • Adjust the Left of Screen DE as Needed

Video:  

3-4 ODD

Some Great Situationals

3-4 Odd can be ran in a very similar fashion to the Over we went through above. Rather than just rehash the same setups and concepts however, we are going to show some of the situational things that Odd can do, that Over just doesn’t handle as well. Below you will find an introduction video to the formation and tabs that discuss the various plays and concepts that we will be using from the formation.

This formation, as stated above, is very similar with what you can do from it to 3-4 Over. We generally prefer Over as our defense between the two, but it is important to note that there are certain situations where 3-4 Odd may be the better bet. In this group we will cover those plays and concepts, they include;

  • 5 Man Universal Pressure
  • Cover 4 Drop
  • Crash Blitz 3
  • Will Buck 3 Press

Simply click on the section that would like to review to expand it. We have included written setups as well for quick reference.

 

You might be asking yourself why send five when over has three and four man heat, great question. The reason is that while the 4 man heat from Over is very difficult to pick up, it is very soft against the run. This pressure is equally hard to pick up, as it will come A-Gap if they protect the edge, but the MLB shooting the gap is also a fierce run defender for up the middle run plays.

Setup:

  • Base Align
  • Shift DL Right and Crash Right
  • Blitz Left of Screen MLB and Position Over Center (See Video)
  • Adjust Coverage as Needed

Video:

The play Cover 4 Drop Show 2 offers us a multi-purpose run defense as well as a pass defense that we can get very creative with the adjustments from. This is a good defense to go to when your opponent is very committed to the run and you are not having success stopping it from Over and don’t want to revert to the 44 Split.

Setup:

  • Base Align
  • Spread LB’s
  • Shift DL as Needed (See Video)
  • Take Either Inside Safety and Bring to Linebacker Depth in Middle (See Video)

Video: 

Crash Blitz 3 will give us a setup similar to the Engage Eight Over setup in the last section, but without having to wait for the safety to come down. This is especially helpful against tight formations because the corner will already be in position. You can run this against regular formations as well, however it requires some manual movement and great adjustments, so it is not recommended for beginners.

Setup:

  • Flip the Play at the Call Screen
  • Press
  • Shift DL Right and Crash Up
  • Adjust the Left of Screen DE as Needed (See Video)

Video:

This defense mimics the look of right edge pressure while actually sending left B-Gap heat. This is not a defense that we labbed ourselves, it was created by another Madden Site, so you will not see this setup being sold anywhere on the site. It is being included strictly for our all-access members. This is a nice setup to mix in when your opponent is accounting for the right side well.

Setup:

  • Base Align
  • Shift DL Right and Crash Up
  • Move Left of Screen MLB Over (See Video)
  • Adjust DT and Right of Screen DE as Needed (See Video)

Video:

4-4 SPLIT

Load the Box

The 4-4 Split is a defense that packs the box against the run. You will have eight players in the box (9 if you user the FS and bring him into the box as well) that will make running more difficult for any opponent. While the numbers game favors us heavily in the run game from this formation, many players also struggle to pass against a loaded box as well when everyone is dropping back into coverage. This formation can make the game easier for new players that haven’t yet mastered user defense and adjusting.

This scheme is really very straight forward, so no need for extra section on advanced strategy and such. In this group you will see base defense, which includes a base coverage and a base blitz, run defense, and a universal edge pressure that take a bit more to setup but a lot more to block. The group includes;

  • Base Coverage
  • Base Blitz
  • Run Defense
  • Aggressive Pressure

Simply click on the tab to expand the section you would like to learn more about. Because this defense is very, very basic in nature we have left out written setups to encourage you to watch the videos for a full understanding on how to get the most from it.

The Base Coverage from 4-4 is relying more on your opponent being in a panic from the zones dropping and the block shed on a three man rush than anything. We understand that may sound like cupcake defense, but plenty of players actually struggle with it, and it provides enough underneath coverage that it can be hard to move the ball effectively.  
In this video we take a look at the three man edge concept applied to the 4-4 Split Formation. We still have all of the great underneath coverage as before, except now we are sending passive pressure as well to ensure the ball gets out quickly.  
As much as you may think that having that many players in the box is instant run defense, it doesn’t really work like that. Here are a few things we recommend doing to lock up the run from 4-4 Split.  
Finally, in this video, we take a look at a four man rush that isn’t really the fastest heat, but it is incredibly hard to block. This will make sure that the ball comes out quickly into one of our waiting underneath zones.  

NICKEL 2-4-5 EVEN (JETS ONLY)

Home of Nickel Blitz 2

Nickel 2-4-5 Even is the home of the glitchy Nickel Blitz 2. It can also be found in the 3-3-5 Will in the Texans playbook, but most playbooks that have it, it is located in 2-4-5 Even. You will notice this formation looks very much like Nickel Normal, and that is because it is, with a slight personnel change. The videos we have included were done from the Texan’s book, but it is literally the exact same thing.

This formation is primarily a pressure formation because of the glitchy edge heat that you can obtain. Running this pressure will force your opponent into PA plays with the RB on the right of the formation, or to block extra people along with slide protection. This is truly the most lethal blitz in the game right now. Stopping the run can prove difficult sometimes however, so make sure to watch all the videos to learn how to defend the run. We will cover;

  • Nickel Blitz 2
  • Buck Slant Show 2
  • Corner Blitz 3
  • Advanced Adjustments

Simply click the tab for the play you want to learn and it will drop down into written adjustments as well as the video detailing the setup. We did not include written adjustments however for the advanced adjustments tab because you really should watch that video a few times to make sure you understand the concepts.

This is the blitz that has the whole community raving. It is very difficult to stop without running a certain play set, however can be abused by the run to the right if you are not aware how to defend the run from it. For that reason we recommend only using it obvious passing situations until you have the time to review and learn the advanced adjustments.

Setup:

  • Base Align and Press
  • Pinch DL and Crash Up
  • Adjust Right of Screen DT and DE

Video:

 

Buck Slant is the exact same blitz as Nickel Blitz 2, but with a Match Cover 3 behind it. Keep the word “Match” in mind. What this means is that against 2×2 sets that are not compressed the defenders will play almost as if they are in man coverage. Against trips sets it will play more like a traditional cover 3 defense. The setup we show sends an extra rusher, however keep in mind you can run it with three by not shifting your linebackers and zoning out the linebacker blitzing on the play art.

Setup:

  • Base Align and Press
  • Pinch DL and Crash Up
  • Shift LB’s Left
  • Adjust Right of Screen DT and DE

Video:

Remember a few sections back when we covered the Crash Blitz 3 from 3-4 Odd? This is the same or similar concept from 2-4-5 Even that we can use against compressed sets. Another nice difference is that the pressure will be coming from the right this time instead of the traditional left side that this formation is known for. This play also follows the Match principles of the Buck Slant Show 2 play.

Setup:

  • Press
  • Shift DL Right and Crash Right
  • Adjust Left of Screen DE

Video:

In this video Route Combo goes over how to use a simple linebacker shift to make the formation more balanced against the run, as well as a slight adjustment to get the cpu to handle the run for you.

BIG DIME 2-3-6

Heat For Days

Big Dime 2-3-6 is one of the more complete formations that uses multiple defensive backs. Inside this formation we can have incredible shotgun run defense from the Cover 1 coverage setup, intense pressure from multiple plays, and a complete blitz package from Slant Zone 2. The only thing that this formation struggles with quite a bit is two back formations with a Power O.

In this group of tabs we will go over the basics of the formation, from coverage defense to specific blitzes that you are probably used to seeing online. For most Madden players these setups will be the extent of they use from the formation, however for those that want to run their defense from one play, we have a great advanced section as well. In this section we will go over;

  • Coverage Defense
  • Slant Zone 2
  • Buck Slant 3
  • Prowl Slant 3 Seam

Simply click on the tab that you want to view and it will expand to include a written setup and a video detailing the play. The Coverage tab is the only exception because it would be best if you learn those concepts directly from the video.

In this video we talk about running coverage defense from the formation including zone and man variations. This coverage can be lethal because of the intense block shed that sometimes occurs from this formation. Couple these concepts with the pressure and people will have a long day running a shotgun passing offense against you.
In this video we go over the most popular play from this formation, Slant Zone 2. With this play we can get easy pressure from the right of screen with minimal setup. This pressure can be picked up fairly easily, however many still struggle to do so. The good news is that the block shed happens quickly even if it does. Be aware the run to the left can sometimes be very difficult to stop with this setup.

Setup:

  • Base Align
  • Shift DL Right and Crash as Needed (See Video)
  • Make Coverage Adjustments (See Video)

Video:

Buck Slant 3 is a simple left edge pressure with Match Cover 3 coverage. This blitz is going to be a basic three man rush, however optionally can be 4 to make it harder to block. This edge screams, and when it comes clean your opponent is in trouble.

Setup:

  • Base Align and Press
  • Shift LB’s to Left
  • Crash DL Left
  • Zone Left of Screen LB
  • Adjust Right of Screen DT

Video:

Prowl Slant 3 Seam is similar pressure to Buck Slant 3, the main difference being setup time and how difficult it is to block. This play takes a bit longer to setup because we are relying on a coverage roll, but it is also much more difficult to block. It is worth noting that this play also uses Match principles in coverage.

Setup:

  • Base Align and Show Blitz
  • Shift DL Left and Crash Left
  • Move Blitzing DB Out Two Steps (See Video)
  • Bluff Blitz Right of Screen DT (Optional)

Video:

In this section we will go over the advanced way to run Big Dime 2-3-6 which consists of running your entire defense from one play with different setups and adjusting out of it. We will go over an all over blitz scheme from one play, and a coverage/blitz scheme from another play as well. This section includes;

  • Slant Zone 2 Left Side
  • Slant Zone 2 Right Side
  • Slant Zone 2 Dual
  • Under Smoke Scheme

Simply click the tab of the setup you are trying to view and you will find the corresponding video. We have not included the written setups because we would like you to be encouraged to watch the videos completely for these setups.

The Dual Heat No Longer Works as of Patch on 2/14/17, sorry guys.

DOLLAR 3-2-6 (BROWNS ONLY)

Balanced Defense

Dollar has some of the best run fits of any DB heavy formation in the game, which makes it a great balanced formation to defend the run moderately well while loading up against the pass. Given the even alignment of the defense, you can also send passive pressure from either side as well. Dollar is by far one of the most popular defenses to run in Madden 17.

In this group we will go over the more popular ways to run Dollar defense. Please be advised that you can still mix in other coverage as well that we don’t go over and have success, but these are the more popular plays. In this section we will go over;

  • Coverage
  • Passive Pressure
  • DB Fire 2 Pressure
  • Spinner Concept

Simply click on the tab that you want to view and it will expand into the video for the formation. Again with Dollar it is VERY important that you have a complete understanding of the formation so we have not included written setups. Watch the videos.

This video goes over what most people are running from Dollar which is Db Fire 2 Press and a separate video going over a nice mix in coverage from 2 man under. This play is a great base defense to run because you can get very creative with your adjustments, who you rush, etc.

This setup is great to run when you would prefer to play coverage but would like a chance for a free rusher because sometimes the linebacker will loop through the line for uncontested pressure. You will still have a solid cover 2 shell on the field even if he doesn’t come in which makes this defense very low risk.
This is a more aggressive blitz from DB Fire 2 Press. Keep in mind that you can send passive pressure from the set by simply not manning up one of the slots in the base setup. This setup is more obvious where you are coming from but plays off of the Cover 2 Sink setup nicely.
This is more of a situational concept, but can be highly effective when used sporadically or against under center formations. We will be sending 6, so there is plenty of risk involved, use it more of a surprise concept than anything unless you have world class user skill and adjustments.